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cropped-mikebrandlyauction.jpgWhat do auctioneers say, when they are bid calling? I bet I’ve been asked that thousands of times since I became an auctioneer.

Auctioneers use bid calling to communicate in a legal, entertaining, encouraging manner with bidders who are in attendance at an auction. The bid calling actually binds bidders with the auctioneer’s client (the seller) with various contingencies as we discussed here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/does-bid-calling-form-contracts/ while asking others to bid against the bidder in contract to form a new contract.

Then also, the typical auctioneer uses bid calling to publicize to all bidders two basic numbers: the amount that is currently bid (known as the “have”) and the higher bid the auctioneer would like to accept (known as the “want”). In between these two numbers, the auctioneer uses filler words or sounds to make the bid calling sound pleasing, and entertaining to the crowd.

For example, if the current bid is $500 (the have) and the auctioneer is asking for $550 (the want), the bid calling might go like this:

    I’m at $500 n I wan $550, $550, bid on $550, I’m at $500 would you go $550, $550 …

Auctioneers typically note or announce the want between 70-80% of the time, and note the have about 20-30% of the time. Yet, these are only two of the three numbers the auctioneer has to keep in mind while bid calling.

Besides the have and the want, the auctioneer has to have a third number ready. When a bid comes in, the auctioneer has to immediately note now that the want has become the have, and there is a new want. This new want is the third number the auctioneer must have in mind at all times, and it is called “the next.”

Therefore, while bid calling, an auctioneer has in mind:

  • The have
  • The want
  • The next

In our above example, while the auctioneer has $500 and is asking $550, the next might be $600, which the auctioneer will say aloud only when a bidder offers $550. At that moment, the $550 becomes the have and the next ($600) becomes the want (and a new next is calculated, but kept filed away — probably $650)

Not coincidentally, the next is usually the same amount more than the want as the want is more than the have. In our example, the have is $500 and the want is $550 (a $50 difference) so the next would typically be $600 ($50 more than the want)

What are these filler words or sounds between the numbers? When auctioneers first learn to bid call, these filler words are fairly easy to distinguish, such as “bid to buy them,” or “do you want it here?” or “somebody give me” …

Then later, after an auctioneer has refined and practiced his bid calling, those filler words become more like sounds, as they are abbreviated or slurred, for example: “b t em” or “do wan her” or “sbody give m.”

What do auctioneers say? They say what they have and what they want, and they fill in with sounds to make their bid calling easy, and entertaining to listen to.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.